The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female high school student. Someone I love so much got married. He is a math teacher at my school, and he is 12 years older than me.
My friends and the teacher himself know I love him. Although I’m aware he would never fall for me, I haven’t given up loving him.
His wife is also a teacher at my school. After finding out that they got married, my friends said things to me such as, “You’ll find someone better than him” and “You’ll have another love.” Despite their encouragement, I now feel I won’t love anybody other than him in the future. First of all, I don’t want to forget that I’ve loved someone so wholeheartedly.
As I’m preparing to take university entrance examinations, I now go to a cram school. Yet I’m so distracted by his marriage that I can’t focus on studying.
I should be pleased to see my beloved become happy, but in fact it’s just painful. I’m always feeling the sense of tension that someone might feel before appearing on stage, which has caused me to lose my appetite. I’ve been confused by my emotions, which I’ve never experienced.
U, Kanagawa Prefecture
Dear Ms. U:
I think it was good for you to have loved someone with an intense passion while you are still young. Your friends have provided you with support and opinions, which are very encouraging for you. I’ll give you an answer from a slightly different viewpoint.
According to research by anthropologist Helen Fisher, who authored the best-selling book “Anatomy of Love,” chemical reactions happen in the brains of people in love, causing a condition similar to using cocaine.
In addition, people tend to feel more passion for the targets of their unrequited love, resulting in being obsessed with these romantic targets all day. Thus, they become intoxicated with their loves.
You may feel it too insensitive to relate your love to chemical reactions in the brain, but it means I want you to look at your current situation objectively, from some distance.
Being a high school student, you are at a crucial stage of life to think seriously of your future, such as your career path and to acquire knowledge and skills for that career. It may be difficult to do this, but I suggest you stop thinking about the teacher for 10 minutes, as a starter, to study for entrance exams during that time. If you can do so, you should extend the time to 20 minutes as a next step, and continue that process.
I believe trying to increase little by little the time you don’t think about your teacher will be the first step to freeing you from your anguish.
Masami Ohinata, university president